Conifers in the winter garden are an important point in garden designing, because they create a strong shape and structure. It is easy to pack a garden with summer-flowering plants, but a one-season wonder is no good whatsoever. Carefully selected and sited conifers in the winter garden are essential ingredients of the well-planned garden.
The best conifers add shapes and definitions whether you want a formal or informal scheme. With heights ranging from 1m (3ft) for a dwarf conifer, such as Picea pungens ‘Globosa’, to the 90m (300ft) high Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant redwood), there is a conifer for most situations.
Passiflora is a beautiful plant commonly known as the passion flower or passion vine. Passiflora contains around 576 species with native ranges throughout the southern United States and Mexico as well as Central and South America.
The Passiflora flower has an intricate structure – despite the delicacy of the flower there is nothing delicate about the plant. You might think it is their beauty that leads to the name, but in fact it is a reference to Christ on the cross – with the filaments resembling a crown of thorns, the three stigmas the nails, and the five anthers his wounds. In non-Christian cultures, the flowers have other meanings: a likeness to clocks in Israel and Japan and a symbol of Krishna in India.
The ideal soil is made up of 22% water, 20% sand, 20% air, 15% silt, 10% clay, 8% ‘unavailable’ water (that is, water trapped within the soil that the plant cannot use) and 5% organic matter.
Soil texture is how the soil feels when you handle it. This is due to the basic rock the soil is made of and cannot be altered. Soil structure is how the particles are held together in the soil. This influences whether the plant can get at the air, water and nutrients in the soil. It can be improved by adding organic matter, ensuring good drainage and digging in fall season to allow the breakdown of clods in heavy soils during winter. It is surprising how much difference adding organic matter can make to almost any soil.
Types of winter damages. During the winter, cold temperatures, snow, excessive sun and strong winds can damage trees. Types of winter damage include broken branches from snow and ice, as well as damaged bark, branches and roots. Newer trees are more prone to injury than older, more established trees.
Soil changes. Soil expands when it gets wet from rain, snow and ice, and contracts when it dries. Frequent changes in soil moisture can damage tree roots. Placing a layer of mulch around a young tree can help keep soil conditions more consistent. The mulch also acts as an insulator. It will keep the ground beneath it warmer for longer periods of time, and can prevent cold air from reaching the tree’s roots.
The two popular Asparagus ferns (A. plumosus and A. densiflorus sprengeri) are grown for their graceful feathery foliage, which is often used in flower arrangements. But all is not what it seems – they are not ferns, and the ‘leaves’ are really needle-like branches.
Asparagus fern is an easy plant to grow, much easier than most true ferns, because it will adapt to wide variations in light, heat and frequency of watering. It does not demand a humid atmosphere and can be easily propagated. For maximum effect make sure that the arching or trailing branches are not impeded by other plants – a hanging basket is the ideal home for Asparagus.
Winter gardening can be so much fun and extremely beneficial as well! Allocate a special space in your garden just for winter gardening. If you are going to plant a crop following one that you had planted earlier, it’s a good idea to feed the soil before hand. You want to give it the best shot that you can at being successful. Try mixing compost, leaf mulch or manure that is aged to your soil to keep it fertile.
Cool weather vegetables only take about one week to germinate therefore transplants can be started outdoors. It’s best not to transfer them any later than the first week of September. This will allow the plants to develop good roots before the winter time and many upcoming frosts.